On Tuesday, March 16, my wife and I were flying on Southwest. As the plane pulled out of the gate, the two gentlemen sitting in front of us were listening to music without headsets. When we asked them to use their headsets as directed by the flight attendant, I noticed one of them wearing his mask on his chin, not covering his nose and mouth. They sarcastically apologized, turned off their music and the one raised his mask. Minutes later we again heard their music. I again asked them to use headphones, at which point the one passenger, again not wearing his mask, responded with profanity. I then pushed the flight attendant call button seeking assistance. A flight attendant from the back of the aircraft suggested we switch seats. As we moved to new seats at the rear of the aircraft, another passenger asked us what happened and as we explained the situation, the flight attendant who had assisted us started yelling at the passenger to mind her own business. My wife and I were shocked to see a flight attendant yelling and arguing with a passenger, appearing to lose his temper so quickly. The flight attendant then threw up his hands, said he was not going to work at the back of the plane and marched off to the front of the aircraft. After a couple of minutes, he returned to the back of the plane and shortly thereafter the aircraft returned to the gate. My wife and I were then asked to disembark from the plane with our bags. We had only engaged with the one flight attendant, but were told that both of them did not feel comfortable flying with us. While we were given the opportunity to explain our side of the story, it was clear to us that the gate agents were siding with the flight attendants, had no interest in speaking with other passengers and were only interested in offering us a refund. We were stunned by the turn of events – nothing like this has ever happened to us and we fly a lot. This was the weekend of the big snow storm in Denver. As a result we had our flights canceled multiple times (we were originally scheduled to fly on Delta from Denver to LaGuardia on Sunday, March 14th). We are loyal Delta customers, but elected to fly Southwest for the first time in some 25 years because they had a direct flight available to LaGuardia on Tuesday and Delta did not. As I waited for a gate agent to process our refund, my wife ran to Delta and through the great efforts of their team, we were able to fly back home with Delta that very evening – via Seattle to JFK on a red-eye. What a difference in customer experience. The Southwest gate agents told us we are banned for life from Southwest. Well that is fine with us because we never want to fly with Southwest again. Thank goodness for Delta and their employees like Rachel! P.S. To add insult to injury, we have to retrieve our checked luggage from Southwest at LaGuardia since the gate agents would not retrieve our luggage from the aircraft.
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